Defending Family Members With Cognitive Challenges And Criminal Charges: What You Should Know


With the number of cases of autism and Asperger's growing in the U.S., and the number of kids, teens, and adults who are tased, shot, or arrested because officers do not have enough training in this area, you may be wondering if you can do something to help your family member with cognitive challenges. If your family member has been charged with criminal assault, criminal battery, or some other crime that was a direct result of his or her disability, there may be hope. A criminal attorney in your state can argue the following for your family member and help him or her avoid prison (where he or she would be too vulnerable).

Proving Competence (or Lack Thereof) to Stand Trial 

A big factor in your family member's case is his or her competence to stand trial. Even if his/her disabilities allow him/her to understand right from wrong, he/she may not understand the seriousness of the charges which he/she is facing. As such, the criminal attorney you hire to defend your family member will have to first show the courts that your family member's cognitive challenges prevent the courts from proceeding as they normally would. It means that your family member would have to undergo a thorough psychiatric evaluation for cognitive functioning and impairment in order to judge whether or not the case can proceed.

Proving the Actions Were Reactions to Misperceptions or Past Personal History

In many of these cases involving children and adults with cognitive challenges, you may or may not know what is going on inside their heads. If your family member is verbal, the criminal attorney can help him or her verbalize for the courts what it is that he/she thought was happening before the criminal act occurred. For example, a person with cognitive challenges might perceive taunting as a threat from another individual and become afraid, then act aggressively in response to protect himself or herself.

This is an example of a reaction to a misperception because the person with cognitive challenges does not understand what his/her options are in a situation like this or forgets to respond in a socially acceptable way. While it does not excuse or condone what occurred, it does show that this person is not just acting out with no preceding factors. By showing this chain of events and/or personal history in court, the criminal attorney defending your family member may get a lighter, less harsh sentence for your family member.  

If you're interested in learning more about how a criminal lawyer can help, click the link for additional reading.


12 June 2016

take a lawyer to criminal court

Until marijuana is legalized in every state, there will be courtrooms filled with those who are deemed criminals for possessing and using it. If you have been charged with the possession and use of marijuana, you need an attorney. Having gone through this with my son, I know that the courts are not pleased with these charges and things don't always turn out well. This blog will show you several examples of what can happen if you go to court for criminal charges without having an attorney working on your side to protect your rights and reduce the consequences as much as possible.